Danny Elfman’s Alice in Wonderland score prepared in Sibelius

Copyright © 2010 Walt Disney Corporation

Tim Burton’s latest blockbuster, Alice in Wonderland, opened at cinemas last weekend. It marks his seventh collaboration with leading man Johnny Depp, but even more remarkably his fourteenth collaboration with composer Danny Elfman.

Sibelius was used to produce the conductor’s score and all of the parts for Alice, and I talked to copyist Ron Vermillion about the role Sibelius played in the music production.

Conductor Pete Anthony and the 95-strong orchestra (Photograph: Dan Goldwasser, courtesy ScoringSessions.com)

The score was recorded on the Sony Scoring Stage in Culver City, California, by a 95-strong orchestra under the direction of conductor Pete Anthony. “We did the movie in two groups of sessions,” says Ron. “The first group was in December, and another in January.”

Film scores run to notoriously tight schedules, and this film was no exception. “The usual ridiculous time constraints applied: for the last group of sessions, there was only seven days from the start of orchestration to the first day of sessions. By the time the orchestration was done, we only had four days to do all the copying.”

Fortunately, Ron and his team were using Sibelius. “Sibelius is so efficient that five copyists managed it without breaking a sweat,” he says. “We didn’t even have extra long days!”

Orchestrator Edgardo Simone and copyist Ron Vermillion (Photograph: Dan Goldwasser, courtesy ScoringSessions.com)

You can read more about the sessions and take a look at plenty more photographs at ScoringSessions.com. If you’d like to hear more of the music from Alice in Wonderland, the soundtrack is available now on EMI.


  1. Jill Streater

    The very effective choir parts were recorded here in the UK …. also on Sibelius of course!

  2. PeterRoos, San Francisco

    Very cool – Danny Elfman is wonderful, I love his music.

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